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Author: The Conversation

Hedonic Adaptation: Why everyone should use chopsticks to eat popcorn

By Robert W. Smith and Ed O’Brien, Assistant Professor of Marketing, The Ohio State University and Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago When a person opens a favorite bottle wine and experiences the first sip, the delicious flavor can be nearly overwhelming. But a minute later, the taste it is barely noticeable while drinking it. This satiation, known as hedonic adaptation, occurs for nearly everything that makes us happy. Look around and think of how much you initially enjoyed the things that surround you. Then think about how much you enjoy them today. In a series of...

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Racial disparities also prevent people of color from access to an equitable end of life

By Jason Ashe and Danielle L. Beatty Moody, Doctoral Student (Ph.D.), Human Services Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Assistant Professor, Behavioral Medicine & Community Psychology Subprograms, University of Maryland, Baltimore County What does it mean to “die well”? The world got an idea recently from the 92-year-old Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, who popularized mindfulness and meditation in the United States. The monk returned to his home in Vietnam to pass his remaining years. Many admired his desire to live his remaining time in peace and dignity. Researchers from the University of California, San...

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Green Space: The complicated relationship between city parks and crime prevention

By Lincoln Larson and S. Scott Ogletree, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University and PhD Candidate and Researcher in Parks and Conservation, Clemson University The relationship between parks and crime remains the subject of debate. Some scholars say parks and other urban green spaces prevent violence. When vacant lots and deteriorating urban spaces are transformed into more appealing and useful places for residents, violence and crime typically decline in the immediate vicinity. In a study of public housing developments in Chicago, researchers found 52% fewer crimes reported near buildings surrounded by trees and other vegetation. In New York City,...

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Federal poverty statistics ignore local economic struggles not measured by personal income

By Sophie Mitra and Debra Brucker, Professor of Economics, Fordham University and Research Associate Professor at Institute on Disability, University of New Hampshire Who counts as poor in the U.S. today? Measuring the share of the population that experiences poverty is important to understanding and monitoring how the country’s economy is doing. It also informs the administration of safety net programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps. Poverty is measured in the U.S. in two ways – but both focus on a lack of income. Currently, those who may have some income but lack other key necessities, like health...

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Our Constitution gives everyone on U.S. soil equal protection regardless of legal status

By David FitzGerald, Angela Y. McClean, and Gustavo López; Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, Professor of Sociology, and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California San Diego; Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, Fellow and Graduate Researcher at Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California San Diego; and Graduate Researcher at Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California San Diego Officially, the Constitution of the United States gives everyone on U.S. soil equal protection under the law – regardless of nationality or legal status. But, as recent stories of the neglectful treatment of...

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The limits of news images as political catalysts for a sustained humanitarian response

By Nicole Smith Dahmen and Paul Slovic; Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon; and Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon When the Associated Press published Julia Le Duc’s photograph of a drowned Salvadoran man, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, and his 23-month old daughter Valeria, it sparked outrage on social media. According to Le Duc, Ramírez had attempted to cross the Rio Grande after realizing he couldn’t present himself to U.S. authorities to request asylum. But beyond raising awareness via Twitter and Facebook feeds, does an image like this one have the power to sway public...

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